Connie Fishman serves as interim Executive Director of Hudson River Park Friends. She previously held the positions of President & CEO and Executive Vice President of the Hudson River Park Trust, the Friends partner organization charged with the design, construction, operations and maintenance of our riverfront park on Manhattan’s West Side. Her previous experience also includes serving as interim Executive Director of the Governors Island Alliance, Senior Vice President of Real Estate for the YMCA of Greater New York, Director of Planning and Development for the NYC Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, Planning and Administration, Deputy Director for Housing, Economic and Infrastructure Planning at the NYC Department of City Planning, and as an independent land use planning and real estate consultant in New York City.
Connie holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California at Los Angeles and a master’s degree in Latin American Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. Born and raised in California, she has lived in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn for the past thirty years.
Director of Communications and Marketing
Ted Gorodetzky joined Hudson River Park Friends following a variety of creative communications positions across the nonprofit sector, including the Hudson River Park Trust. His articles, photography, and various publications for the Park and Friends consistently elevate awareness, heighten donor support, and encourage communal stewardship for this premier NYC destination.
Through his diverse career with cultural organizations and freelance clients, Ted has developed an expertise in the direction of compelling and effective creative collateral with an astute strategic eye. In past work with The JCC in Manhattan, at The Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and with myriad entertainment companies, he has overseen numerous, multi-channel promotional campaigns and acted as primary copywriter, editor and designer. His bold messaging and innovative audience engagement led to expanded partnerships, substantial revenue increases, and record attendance for large scale promotional events.
Additionally, Ted brings with him an extensive background in production and entertainment with many years in the theatre and film industries, and a fine arts degree from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He is especially happy to lend his instinctively collaborative nature and creative spirit to help grow Hudson River Park Friends.
Director of Development
Toby Pearce was appointed Director of Development at Hudson River Park Friends in October 2013. Over his fourteen-year career, Toby has raised millions for non-profit organizations that include Friends and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (“HSF”) as well as smaller start-up companies.
His accomplishments include launching new and successful fundraising and marketing programs, campaigns, events, committee and initiatives to raise the profile of the organization while doubling Friends’ annual revenue. The most notable are The Hudson River Park Games and starting the first ever capital campaign for Friends that raised $2.5M million to redesign and renovate a community playground in Hudson River Park. At HSF, Toby served as the National Development Director, Northeast, where he was instrumental in increasing philanthropic support across all areas but specialized in developing corporate partnerships with a “triple bottom line” framework. He also worked closely with the HSF leadership team and the Ad Council to help launch a national advertising campaign designed to place at least one college education in every Hispanic American household.
Toby is a member of the Council of Protocol and Executives (COPE) and an Association of Fundraising Professionals (“AFP”) Corporate and Foundation Track Co-Chair (2015, 2017). He holds a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from The George Washington University. Toby is excited to lend his non-profit management expertise to help continue to grow funds to benefit Hudson River Park.
Director of Finance and Operations
James joined Hudson River Park Friends in November 2012. He offers over 20 years of experience as a financial executive, business consultant, and accountant. He has experience working for Fortune 500 Corporations as well as small to mid-size organizations in diverse industries and not-for-profit businesses.
Prior to joining Friends, James had been the Lead Consultant at D&J Consulting, LLC, providing a wide range of business consulting services. Formerly at Warner Music Group, James was a Senior Director of Internal Audit and Compliance. Prior to that, he worked at Vivendi, starting as a Controller then promoted to Senior Director of Global Finance. At Sony/BMG he was Manager of Financial Reporting and Manager of Royalty Accounting. He was also the Assistant Controller for Heraeus, Inc. As Accounting Manager at New Community Corporation, James was responsible for the accounting close process.
James received his MBA from Seton Hall University and his BS from Drexel University. He is a member of the New Jersey Networking Group and New Jersey Professionals as well as the Financial Executive Networking Group. He is the Financial Officer and long standing member of a local not-for-profit organization assisting others through micro-credit loans, education and health care.
Director of External Affairs
Tony joined Friends after a rewarding career in New York City government, advocacy and real estate. A native New Yorker, Tony brings a wealth of civic experience to this role. During his time in government, he served as Director of Community Outreach for former NYC Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. He also worked for numerous other politicians and on many high-profile political and advocacy campaigns, including Hillary Clinton’s race for U.S. Senate (NY).
As Director of Community Outreach for the NYC Council and Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, he oversaw external relations and built strong relationships with NYC Council Members, business, community leaders and government agencies. In his role with the Council Speaker, he also directed Super Storm Sandy volunteer relief efforts and led local initiatives to reduce hate crimes and participated in the NYS marriage equality victory. Tony also served as Deputy Director for People for the American Way.
Tony began his career at Goldman Sachs & Co. in private equity, and holds a Masters in Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a BA in Economics and Political Science from Hofstra University. He has helped New Yorkers and international clients navigate one of the world’s most dynamic real estate markets with the prestigious firm Stribling & Associates, where he produced and co-hosted a weekly radio show about New York business, culture and people.
Tony lives with his fiancé, Jason Coughlin, and their dog, Radar (a rescue mini-Pinscher/Dachshund/Jack Russell mix) in Hell’s Kitchen/Hudson Yards. Tony hopes to engage, empower and work with the community and elected officials to ensure Hudson River Park continues to thrive and be a world class park for all New Yorkers.
Digital Communications Coordinator
Julie joined Hudson River Park Friends with five years of administrative, communications and digital marketing experience. She loves bringing fun and informative updates to Hudson River Park fans and engaging with the Park community on social media.
Before arriving at Friends, Julie served as Chapbook Coordinator at the New School Writing Program, coordinating events, newsletters and blog content to keep her community connected and informed. Prior to this, she developed content and managed social media accounts for social work and counseling education websites, and helped build audience awareness and engagement.
She received her B.A. in English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis and completed her MFA in Creative Writing at the New School. Words and parks are two of her main passions, and she loves bringing them together for Hudson River Park.
Manager, Database and Campaign Strategy
Shannon Guttridge joined Hudson River Park Friends in July 2015, with nearly a decade of experience within the nonprofit sector. She is excited to increase awareness of Hudson River Park’s many endeavors and progress, as well as expand the individual giving program, as part of the Friends team.
Prior to her time at Friends, Shannon launched the membership program and managed the direct mail campaign at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. She has also worked on major event planning and project management with CBlaney Group, where she raised funds for various organizations including ONE Foundation, Council on Competitiveness, and Meridian International Center. Ironically, she now finds herself back at Hudson River Park, home of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum where she first began her New York journey assisting the external affairs team.
Shannon holds a B.A. in Global Affairs from George Mason University.
Institutional Giving Manager
Hillel Herzfeld joined Hudson River Park Friends as Institutional Giving Manager in June 2016 after more than five years in theatre fundraising. Most recently, he served in the same capacity for Primary Stages. While managing the institutional giving portfolio at Primary Stages, Hillel increased contributed income from foundations, corporations and government entities, as well as grew income and attendance for their annual gala.
Prior to Primary Stages, Hillel worked with Signature Theatre Company on the $70M capital campaign to complete the Frank Gehry-designed Pershing Square Signature Center.
Hillel graduated magna cum laude from Rutgers University. A resident of lower Manhattan, he enjoys running along Hudson River Park and playing ice hockey in the Park at Chelsea Piers.
Finance and Operations Associate
Supporting the Director of Finance in her position, Brenda Palencia joined Hudson River Park Friends in December 2014. Previously, she was Co-owner and Vice President of a home furnishings company in Queens, New York.
While working at a CPA firm in New York City, Brenda managed the personal bookkeeping for Ronald Lauder during the time he was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Austria. She has worked at HSBC Bank (formerly Republic National Bank of New York) as an Executive Assistant and in the executive offices of Merrill Lynch International until September 2001. Since, then she has dedicated her time working as an accounting technician for small companies organizing and managing the companies’ books and records.
Taylor joined Hudson River Park Friends in November 2017 with over eight years of development experience. Previously she managed the fundraising events for the Guggenheim Museum in New York – including overseeing the annual Guggenheim International Gala, GIG Pre-Party and the Young Collectors Party. She also worked with Guggenheim curatorial team to produce special performances like Solange’s “An Ode To,” in partnership with RBMA.
Prior to moving to New York, Taylor worked in a number of roles at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco – from membership and institutional giving to later managing both the corporate and special events programs. In her various roles at the museum she helped build audience, brand, and donor base by creating new fundraising initiatives in the museum’s landmark Daniel Libeskind-designed building.
Taylor graduated magna cum laude from University of San Francisco with a BA in Art History and Arts Management. An outdoor enthusiast, Taylor loves biking and picnicking in Hudson River Park and looks forward to working to help keep it beautiful, safe and clean.